Bradford Mumpower’s vision for his Alloy Pittsburgh 2021 installation at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, a larger-than-life representation of the “greens” worn by workers.
Rivers of Steel Announces Programs for Alloy Pittsburgh 2021
Community Opening Reception, Meet-the-Artists Happy Hour, & Tours
Homestead, PA (August 11, 2021)—With its opening reception on August 28, the Alloy Pittsburgh exhibition of newly-created, site-based artworks returns to the Carrie Blast Furnaces. This is the fourth iteration of this journey by local artists to explore the National Historic Landmark’s legacy and its current and future role as an icon in the Mon Valley.
The opening reception is free to the public with advanced registration. Additional opportunities to experience the artworks include two Meet-the-Artists Happy Hour programs on September 9 and 23, which include a reception and artist-led tour of the exhibition, along with special, guided tours offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the end of the show’s run on September 26, 2021.
The Alloy Pittsburgh 2021 tours are a special version of Rivers of Steel’s Arts and Grounds Tour, which shares how the site is interpreted through a creative lens, from the management of its ecology to the various art programs that activate the site. This one-hour tour includes the Iron Garden, graffiti artworks in the Ore Yard, the renowned Carrie Deer sculpture, other metal arts sculptures, and current (and past) Alloy Pittsburgh installations.
The Meet-the-Artists Happy Hours are $25 per person; tours are $10 per person. Tickets and information are available at riversofsteel.com/alloy-pittsburgh-2021.
Through Alloy Pittsburgh, Rivers of Steel seeks to examine the history, current condition, and possible future of the Carrie Blast Furnaces without permanently transforming the site’s characteristics, while offering regional artists a unique exhibition opportunity and career-building experience.
In 2021, Rivers of Steel and the Alloy Pittsburgh collaborators unveiled a new programmatic structure. With the funding from a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Alloy Pittsburgh 2021 reached beyond the walls of the Carrie Blast Furnaces to place resident artists in five neighboring communities of Braddock, Hazelwood, Homestead, Rankin, and Swissvale, Pennsylvania.
The following artists were paired with partner organizations in each municipality for a three-month residency period. During that time, artists communicated, collaborated, and connected with Mon Valley residents to develop their final projects at the Carrie Blast Furnaces. Each institution worked collaboratively with the Alloy Pittsburgh team to select and pair artists with the venue most suitable to their work.
- Darnell Chambers—hosted by Dragon’s Den in Homestead
- Reba Harmon—hosted by Three Rivers Village School in Hazelwood
- Lori Hepner—hosted by Braddock Carnegie Library Association in Braddock
- Sandy Kessler-Kaminski—hosted by Rankin Christian Center in Rankin
- Jan Loney—hosted by Rivers of Steel at the Carrie Blast Furnaces (in Rankin & Swissvale)
- Bradford Mumpower—hosted by the Wilkins School Community Center in Swissvale
“Community-based art programs, like Alloy Pittsburgh, provide a vital pathway for residents across the Mon Valley to celebrate and share their industrial heritage. They also help reimagine the changing role of places like the Carrie Blast Furnaces in the region’s future,” said Augie Carlino, president and CEO of Rivers of Steel. “Generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and all of our local partners helps ensure these meaningful connections thrive.”
In May, the program launched with a weeklong research residency for the artists. During that week, the artists explored Carrie Blast Furnaces to learn about its history through various perspectives. They met with former steelworkers, Rivers of Steel staff historians, and talked to other local scholars. The keynote speaker was Edward K. Muller, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh and former board chair of Rivers of Steel. The artists also met with former Alloy Pittsburgh resident artists to learn about their work, processes, and past experiences working in community-based residencies.
Following the kick-off week, the artists began working out of their community spaces, which shaped the nature of their engagement with their communities.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.
Additional support for Alloy Pittsburgh 2021 has been provided by the Fine Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and Eaton Corporation, with media sponsorship from Pittsburgh City Paper.
About Rivers of Steel
Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.
Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.
About Rivers of Steel Arts
Rivers of Steel Arts celebrates creative inquiry by crafting opportunities to interpret the region’s past, reimagine its future, and explore a sense of place. Through exhibitions, festivals, workshops, tours, and happenings, Rivers of Steel Arts helps individuals connect with their communities in meaningful ways.
Contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020, ext. 243 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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